Friday, April 15, 2011

Aux Saveurs du Marché (Paris)

We read that there was a new restaurant that had moved recently moved from Neuilly to very close to our place. This was good for us because its always nice to know that you can have a neighborhood restaurant that you can rely on for amazing food at great prices. The restaurant was called Aux Saveurs du Marché.

We went to the restaurant to check out the menu in the afternoon and the list of the food on the menu looked really good, so we reserved a table for the evening (lucky we did because we got the last table).

When we arrived in the evening; the place was packed! Due to the lovely weather all the doors were open to accommodate more tables on the sidewalk. I would have to say that the decor was lacking in creativity. I am no interiour designer, but it looked like it was a rushed job and so they bought the decor from IKEA (not that I do not like IKEA, I love them...but for a restaurant at this level, they should have put some thought into it). Anyway; since the place was packed, I thought who cares since the food will be the star of the evening.

I have to say sorry in photos are dark because I was shy to take photos with a flash since out table was so close to other people and did not want them to think...'Mon dieu, another Japanese tourist taking photos of his food again!' and the lighting was bad.

My friend's starter Effiloche raie (14.00 euros). The raie was fresh and had good consistency. But, we thought the dish was bland. The dish was also suppose to be accompanied with avocado but we could not find them. The dish was ok.

My starter was Civiche (13.00 euros). My starter was civiche, which was much better than the raie. The fish was fresh and actually abundant in such a small glass. The lemon, lime and herbs added good flavours to the dish. Not bad at all.

My main dish was Loup de mer (25.00 euros). My fish was cooked nicely, it was moist and flaky. The dish was simple but was prepared well. Nicely done.

My friend's main dish was Tartare de canard (27.00 euros). The tartare was amazing. The best dish of the evening. The fois gras was cooked perfectly and the duck was tender. The fois gras and duck made a great combination and the sauce added a nice flavour to the dish.

Overall; from the reviews we read & heard...this restaurant was a let down. Not that it was not good...the problem was that it was inconsistent. The starters were ok and the main dishes were much better. We were disappointed because our expectations were too high after the reviews. The total bill: food plus a coupe Louis Brut (10.00 euros), a glass of Pouilly (6.00 euros) & a bottle of wine (36.00 euros) was 131.00 euros.

For a place at this level; they need to start realizing that they will be attracting people who know their food and are expecting a lot. For example; a table of three were sitting next to us; one of the ladies at the table ordered Veal with mushrooms (as explained on the menu). Her dish arrived and she noticed that the veal was accompanied with small pan-fried potatoes and her side dish was mashed potatoes. Of course she was not happy & confused that she must have mis-read the menu.

So she called the waitress to ask her how is it possible that her main dish had two times potatoes. The waitress (who was not in a sorry mood what-so-ever and even had a who cares attitude), went to the kitchen and came back out and told the lady that the kitchen had no more mushrooms so they replaced it with potatoes. So the lady said; why did you not tell me or ask me if I wanted something else or to replace the mushroom with another vegetable?

We could not believe it either. The kitchen thought they could pass a fast one on the lady by cutting the potatoes up and making them look like mushrooms and thought the lady would not even notice. Uuummmm; duh, people do notice what they are eating! On top of that who ever the chef was...was not even smart enough to know that you do not serve two time the potato serving for one dish. How stupid can you be? I am no chef but my goodness, even I know not to do that.

We were really hoping this was going to be an awesome restaurant that we could add to our list because it is so close to the apartment. Oh well; our job of finding fantastic restaurants next to the apartment goes on.

73 avenue Niel, 75017 Paris
Tel.: 01 44 40 28 15

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Café Des Musées (Paris)

We were shopping in the 4th arrondissement; there were millions of people due to being Easter break in Europe. The weather was lovely and no wonder all the locals & tourists were out in force. It was lunch time and we knew it would be hard to get a table in the touristic parts of Le Marais. So; we decided to walk out of the touristic part. We decided to have lunch at a very popular bistro for lunch....Café Des Musées. We had no reservations but we were very very lucky to get a table right away.

This bistro is really famous for good, hearty & affordable food. The decor & atmosphere had the typical bistro flare...tiled floors, wooden table & chairs very close to one another, huge windows to let in the sunlight, huge chalkboards hanging with the wines & daily specials, open kitchen (with a Japanese chef) and happy clients eating and talking....I loved it!

I took the daily menu special that cost only 20 euros. It consisted of a starter, main dish & dessert. My starter was a Fois gras mousse. The mousse was topped with endives and walnuts. The mousse had a rich taste of fois gras and a lovely consistency which was smooth & creamy. The toppings added texture and flavours. Nice starter.

My main dish was a Cocotte with 3 different cuts from a pig. The cocotte arrived and man oh man, was it a hearty portion (I was very happy). The 3 three different cuts of the pig were tender, moist and tasty. The rich sauce was enough to keep the meat juicy and added a rich flavour. My tummy was content!

My friend did not take the daily menu but settled for Tartare de boeuf (17 euros). The tartare had fresh thick burgundy coloured meat which was hand chopped (a very good thing). My friend had to mix the ingredients himself to get the taste to his liking. The after the mixing of the ingredients...the tartare tasted so so good. Of course the tartare was accompanied with crispy french fries. A great combo.

My dessert was a Tiramisu. It was big enough to share with my friend. The tiramisu had a lovely consistency; rich, creamy & smooth. The tiramisu was light yet rich in taste. A nice way to end a meal.

Overall; another bistro that keeps the tradition of no non-sense hearty & delicious bistro food at reasonalb prices. How can they do a lunch menu at 20 euros and keep up the standard & quality? Actually, who cares and I hope they keep this up for a very very long time. The service was very efficient and friendly. Who can ask for more? The total bill with a bottle of badoit (4.80 euros) and two coffees (2.20 euros each) came to only 46.20 euros. A bargain.

49 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Tel.: 01 42 72 96 17

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pha Heat Seafood

Our company was having our company outing in Hua-Hin. That meant that our gang wanted to have a yummy seafood lunch before reaching the hotel. I am novice when it comes to knowing where & what are the best seafood restaurants in the area since there are so many seafood restaurants on the way to Hua-Hin. Therefore; I left the decision to the friends.

The experts took me to Pha Heat Seafood restaurant at the Chaam Wharf. The most basic restaurant in terms of structure & decor (it was great). The restaurant was built stilts over the water...we could see the water underneath from the wooden plank floors, wood beams holding the roof and no walls. The most basic wooden tables covered with plastic table covers and plastic chairs.

The view from out table.

The open kitchen where the famous chefs did their magic with the seafood.

The first dish was Fresh oysters with condiments (chillies, lime, deep fried onions & chili paste).

The oysters were shelled and placed in ice to keep fresh. This is not one of my favourite dishes. I think the oysters from warm waters are not as good as from the cold waters. On top of this; the oysters have no taste and that is the reason for all the add flavour. Though I did not enjoy this friends ate the whole thing.

The next dish was Papaya salad. Who does not enjoy a som-tum, especially when its hot. This was a refreshing dish and it was so tasty due to the fresh green papaya mixed with tomatoes, peanuts, dried shrimps, chillies, lemon/ lime, cane sugar and fish sauce. So so good.

The next dish was Scallops in shrimp paste sauce. The scallops were small and plump. The thick sauce was salty, sweet & spicy. A unique dish with very nice balance of flavours.

The next dish was Crab fried rice. The fried rice was nice because it was not oily (a very good thing) and tons of crab meat. I actually hate fried rice...because crab fried rice is so darn good that I cannot control myself and practically can eat a kilo of the stuff. Fried rice is bad bad bad.

The next dish was Blood clams. This is not my favourite clams on earth. I am not a fan of the taste of this shell fish. But...the spicy sauce that accompanied the clams was so good that I actually ate several of these monsters.

The next dish was Tom yum seafood. The seafood was abundant and fresh (very nice textures) and the tom yum was well balanced with sour, sweet & spicy. Such an amazing soup.

The next dish was Deep fried fish in fish sauce. I think I can eat this fried fish everyday for the rest of my life. Who on earth created deep fried fish with fish sauce...who ever you are my hero! The fish was fried to a rich golden brown and was very crispy on the outside while the inside was hot, soft and tender. This dish was soooooo yummy.

The next dish was Fresh steamed sweet crab. Basic steamed crab has got to be one of the best dishes ever...but of course one of the messiest to eat. That was the fun part of eating crab. This crab was small but it had a lovely colour and such a sweet taste to it. Amazing.

The next dish was Steamed prawns with glass noodles. Another favourite dish of mine...the steamed prawns with glass noodles in a tin pot had an amazing flavour of ginger & pork fat. The prawns were huge, plump and juicy, the glass noodles cooked perfectly had soaked up all the juices. Boy oh boy was this good.

The next dish was Sweet, sour & spicy squid. The squid was so fresh that it was barely chewy. The sauce was thick and full of flavour.

The fresh seafood to choose from.

Overall; all the seafood was very fresh and of good quality. The cooking of the seafood was perfect and all the dishes tasted delicious. The amazing thing was the cost absolutely nothing. There was 10 of us and if I remember correctly the bill came to 400 baht for each person. By the way, some of the dishes were twice ordered, we ordered 10 crabs and we had water & coke on top of it. So, it was really cheap. Great food, great ambiance and great price. Can't ask for anything else.

(Sorry..the address & contact number Pha Heat is coming soon)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Eve @ Hansar Hotel

We heard that a new hotel opened on Rajdamri Road. The hotel is very close to the Four Seasons hotel. We also heard that the hotel had a new fine dining restaurant. So; that meant, we had to try it. The hotel is called the Hansar Hotel. The 'what' hotel you ask??? Well; I also asked the same thing. What hotel chain is this? Who owns this hotel? Where else on earth is there a Hansar hotel? These are questions not easily answered.

The fine dining restaurant is called 'Eve' and we had a choice to dine inside or outside on the terrace. Since the hotel is new...the restaurant was totally empty.

We chose to dine outside. The very long terrace consist of the Eve restaurant but also the jazz lounge (which had many more people that the restaurant). The jazz music was a nice background music while we dined. The only issue we had about sitting outside was that our view was that of the parking garage of the building opposite the road. On top of that; all of a sudden...those darn blood sucking mosquitoes appeared and started to have dinner themselves with my blood.

My friend's appetizer was Hokkaido Sea Scallops (580 baht). Pan seared sea scallops, with tempura tiger prawns and accompanied with tomato & avocado salsa. The scallops were very fresh, cooked nicely (still raw in the middle), the sauce and tomato & avocado salsas added textures, colours and tastes.

My appetizer was Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio (530 baht). Tender beef with wild rockets, pommery mustard, parmesan shavings and lemon-truffle vinaigrette. A basic dish but the quality of the materials of the dish are very important. The beef was of good quality and tasted very nice. The other materials added the needed flavours to round off the dish.

We decided to share a mid-course dish which was Trofie Pasta (420 baht). Hand made 'maggot' sized & shaped pasta (sorry for the disgusting comparison) 'a la carbonara', with confit crispy pork belly. There is nothing so good as home made pasta; the pasta had a nice texture and was cooked just right. The sauce was thick, creamy & rich. The pork belly was cooked perfectly and was soft & tender.

The break before the main courses.

My friend's main dish was Best End of Australian Lamb (1,000 baht). The lamb was cumin scented with porcini risotto, crispy wild rice on the side. The lamb was of very good quality, cooked nicely and was very tender.

My main dish was Soulard Duck Breast (900 baht). The duck breast was accompanied with wilted spinach, galette potato and cranberry sauce. The duck was very tender, cooked nicely and tasted very nice.

The open kitchen and indoor dining area.

Overall; the hotel was built with good space, height & volume. Eve restaurant had a 'retro' decor theme to it with with the main colour scheme of white & black and main materials of glass & chrome. The food was presented well, cooked well with good quality ingredients and tasted good. Since we were the only customers; the service was 'very' attentive.

My only complaints would be the parking garage view (if you sit outside on the terrace) the very expensive wine list and the overall expense of the food. I know, I know...the reason for the high food prices is because they had to import all the ingredients and materials...blah...blah....blah. Good excuses. But I don't buy it. I truly believe Thailand has very good beef, duck, chicken, etc. I believe its only an 'ego' trip or even a 'show-off' trip that restaurant says that they 'import' all the 'best' ingredients. Don't get me wrong; I like the imported products that the restaurants bring in...but I think it is not needed.

Oooops; sorry, I am blabbering too much on this subject...sorry, back to my story. I think the food prices are a bit on the high side at Eve's. I am not sure if they will get customers into the restaurant especially when they are competing against established high priced/ fine dining restaurants on the same street....Tables at the Grand Hyatt, Madison at the Four Seasons and opening very very soon will be another high priced/ fine dining restaurant at the St. Regis.

I think if Eve wants to survive & compete on the Rajdamri Road; I think they need to change/ lower their prices if they want more customers to even consider to dine at Eve's. But then again, what do I know?

Address: 3 Soi Mahadlekluang 2, Rajdamri Road, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: +66 2209 1234